Teens plead guilty to Ecklin party brawl charges

FIVE youths involved in a vicious brawl at an Ecklin after-deb party may have to face their victims.

The youths, who cannot be named because they are aged under 18 years, all pleaded guilty in a court yesterday to affray.

A magistrate said that victim impact statements indicated there were unresolved issues with one victim, who was unsure if he or his family had anything to fear.

The court hearing was adjourned so inquiries could be made about whether a group conference, involving the defendants possibly fronting their victims, was appropriate.

On March 23 last year all five young men attended an after-deb party at an Ecklin South property, police told the court.

About 10.30pm one witness was dancing when he was bumped by one of the youths and pushed him back.

The youth retaliated by head-butting and jumper-punching the victim to the chest, then threw another punch which connected to the victim’s face.

The victim grabbed the aggressor and pulled him down, ripping off his shirt. He was then set on by a number of people, suffering a split and swollen lip and right eye.

One of 10 adults supervising at the party intervened and was twice hit to the back of the head.

The man was then grabbed by the initial offender in a headlock. He was unable to breathe so he up-ended the youth, causing both to fall to the ground. While on the ground the man was punched and kicked by people standing around. The victim suffered injuries to his face, torso and legs including fractures to his cheekbone and ribs.

Witnesses told police they were sick, angry and horrified and the adult victim’s young daughter was hysterical. 

Police said each of the charged youths, except one, had clearly downplayed their roles in the brawl.

A solicitor said it was a very unfortunate incident which quickly escalated out of control.

The magistrate stopped the solicitor’s plea and said the incident was not unfortunate but wanton violence by a group of alcohol-affected thugs.

He said it was a calculated assault and only one of them had admitted to kicking someone.

The magistrate said affray was all about putting people in fear and terror and kicking someone when they were down was one of the lowest acts.

Another lawyer described the incident as a “saloon-type brawl” which witnesses said involved 10 to 15 people from the crowd of 200, of which five were now fronting court.

Another solicitor said the party was held in a three-car garage and involved a disco and smoke machine, which meant visibility was poor. She said her client admitted twice kicking a person on the ground to the stomach out of “misplaced loyalty”.

None of the defendants had prior convictions and a large number of references were tendered to the court from community leaders, school teachers and sports officials.

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